The quintessential drink of the summer, my old-fashioned pink lemonade is the perfect way to cool off on a hot afternoon. Learn how to make pink lemonade with 4 ingredients and a few easy steps.
“What actually makes pink lemonade pink?” must be one of life’s endlessly puzzling questions. Like “why is the sky blue?” or “why is the grass green?”. Though the answer for pink lemonade recipes is a lot less complicated (and less scientific), it doesn’t diminish the wonder of watching some simple ingredients get transformed from a bright yellow to a glittering red-pink juice.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make this lemonade for yourself, let my recipe demystify the process with four simple ingredients and an easy method. Plus, it’s got so many uses, from a sweet treat on a sunny afternoon to the base for a range of delicious cocktails for an evening aperitif.
What Is Pink Lemonade
It’s lemonade – but pink! Yes, it’s that simple. Taking on a distinctive rose color, it’s what is in pink lemonade that gives it its hue. Though pink lemons do really exist, they’re not used to make the best pink lemonade.
According to legend, it was a carnival vendor named Pete Conklin who invented this drink when he accidentally brewed his own lemonade in a tub with pink water.
What Makes Pink Lemonade Pink
But why is pink lemonade pink? The color comes from berries, including raspberries, strawberries, cranberry juice, or pomegranate/grenadine. Some even use watermelon or beet juice to achieve different hues.
The fruit is usually mashed up, then strained, and added to the lemon juice, where the colors mix. That’s why pink lemonade is pink.
The Flavor of Pink Lemonade
The berries you use will largely determine what flavor is pink lemonade. Some flavors will act as complements to the lemon, rather than overpower it – particularly in raspberry lemonade or when using pomegranate – whilst strawberry lemonade or cranberry juice will give it a stronger berry taste.
What Is Pink Lemonade Made From
This aesthetic lemonade has just four simple ingredients:
- Strawberries: The star of the show! For this lemonade recipe, we’re using strawberries to create a distinctive red-pink color. You can use fresh – just make sure they’re ripe and very juicy – or you can use frozen, just make sure to thaw them before using. If you don’t have strawberries, other red berries work just as well for this pink lemonade recipe.
- Fresh lemons: Yes, it’s a bit of effort to juice your lemons, but the flavor is so much better than bottled lemon juice for homemade lemonade.
- Simple syrup: If you’ve never made simple syrup before, follow my easy How-To Guide here.
- Water: Use fresh drinking water.
Optional Add-Ins/Variations: For a grown-up twist, replace some of the water with a few splashes of vodka. Or, for a non-alcoholic version, use sprite or soda water. Swap out your lemon for lime to get a delicious adult juice.
How Do You Make Pink Lemonade
You no longer need to worry about how is pink lemonade made – just follow these easy steps.
Prepare Your Lemons
As with most lemonade recipes, you’ll want to slice your lemons in half and juice them. For the most juice, use a citrus juicer. If you don’t have one, follow my guide for getting the most juice out of your lemons.
Make the Simple Syrup
If you don’t have simple syrup to hand, prepare it as per this method. Using a ratio of 1:1 water to sugar, heat together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
Muddle the Strawberries
In a small bowl or jar, muddle/mash the strawberries. If you prefer, pass the mashed strawberries through a sieve so you can strain the juice out. However, I like using the whole muddled mix.
Assemble the Lemonade
Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, strawberries, and cold water in a large jug and give it a good stir. Taste the lemonade and adjust any of the ingredients if needed – a bit more water or sugar syrup, etc.
Add plenty of ice – either in the glasses or in the jug. Add a few stalks of mint and some lemon slices to garnish. Enjoy your fresh strawberry lemonade!
Chef’s Tips: The same steps will work to make a refreshing raspberry lemonade too.
Make It Ahead
This lemon drink can be made in advance as it’ll keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Just make sure to stir before using.
You can also freeze some into an ice cube tray and use it to cool a future batch of lemonade for a hot summer day.
Not really – the pink Eureka lemons are pink-fleshed indeed, but the juice runs clear. If you do get a hold of them, they will make a beautiful decoration for your homemade pink lemonade when cut into slices or wedges.
More Fun Summer Drinks
- Easy Fruit Punch
- The Best Traditional Lemonade
- Simple Magic Lemonade
- Lemon Water
- Mexican Horchata (Agua de Horchata)
If you try this pink lemonade recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
How to Make Pink Lemonade
- Juice the lemons. For the most juice, use a citrus juicer. If you don't have one, follow my guide for getting the most juice out of your lemons.
- If you don't have simple syrup to hand, prepare it as per this method. Using a ratio of 1:1 water to sugar, heat together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
- In a small bowl or jar, muddle/mash the strawberries. If you prefer, pass the mashed strawberries through a sieve so you can strain the juice out. However, I like using the whole muddled mix.
- Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, strawberries, and water in a large jug and give it a good stir. Taste the lemonade and adjust any of the ingredients if needed – a bit more water or sugar syrup, etc.Serve with ice and a few stalks of mint and some lemon slices to garnish.
How To Store:
- Leftover homemade lemonade will store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days when covered. Just give it a quick stir before using and away you go.
- Add ice to your glass, rather than in the pitcher. That way, you won’t dilute the entire batch.
- You could also make lemon juice/orange juice ice cubes to mix with normal ones.
- The type of lemon you use will also affect the tartness of the lemonade. Meyer lemons are sweeter and will require less additional sweetener.
- You can dilute this mix with fizzy water instead of still if preferred.
- Rose Extract – A simple (and delicious) way to elevate the flavor of this drink, especially if you are making raspberry lemonade.
- Feel free to experiment with combining the strawberries with other fruits.
- You can also add various herbs to the lemonade, for additional flavor. My favorites include fresh mint leaves, basil, or rosemary!
- For a simple adaption to a vodka berry lemonade – simply swap some of the water for vodka (even better if it’s citrus-infused!). An instant “berry cocktail” vodka lemonade is born!